Last mile logistics and living lab Heijendaal: context, relevance and goals

An overview of our milestones

Campus Heijendaal in Nijmegen is home to Radboudumc, Radboud University (RU) and HAN University of Applies Sciences. Daily, tens of thousands of students, patients, visitors and staff visit the campus, as do the goods needed for research, treatment and education. This leads to extreme traffic congestion and has a negative impact on the local environment and people’s quality of life.

The field of last-mile logistics is all about a smarter and more sustainable organization of the last few kilometers of the flow of goods. We have developed an overview of our milestones as an interactive visual. This provides a summary of more than three years of scientific and practical research into last mile logistics on the Heijendaal campus. The Living Lab Heijendaal was specifically established for this purpose. We trust that researchers and professionals in the field will benefit from the insights gained. How that works is explained below. To start off with, we introduce several terms.

In 2017, KennisDC Logistiek (a HAN research group), HAN, RU, and Radboudumc entered into discussions about developing a more sustainable and joint form of supply to the campus area. The institutions wanted to work towards a more sustainable and loveable campus, i.e., one with less vehicles and less pollution. After a few joint meetings and in close consultation with the institutions’ boards, the decision was made to experiment with a smarter and more sustainable form of supply. To achieve this, a formalized agreement between the three institutions was signed: the Living Lab Heijendaal came into being.

A living lab is a living laboratory, a place to try out new ideas and put them directly into practice. In this way, the campus organizations and their external partners can learn and research by ‘doing’. These external partners included the operator of a city hub. This is a distribution center located at the city’s boundary where goods are delivered by campus suppliers, from where they are bundled and transported to the campus in zero emission vehicles and by bicycle couriers. The living lab is especially focused on the logistics of those last few kilometers to and on the campus, as these cause the most inconvenience.

The following goals were established for Living LAB Heijendaal Living Lab; these embed the concepts of livability and sustainability:

  • Fewer vehicles on and to the campus
  • Cleaner vehicles on and to the campus
  • Considerations of service levels and costs

Following a preliminary study by the CoE KennisDC Logistiek, the potential of smarter last-mile logistics became clear. A consortium was set up to conduct more extensive research and a subsidy was granted by NWO.

With this interactive overview of out milestones, we want to support and inspire professionals and researchers to set up partnerships, improve logistic concepts, and ultimately to improve the sustainability of the last mile logistics at Campus Heijendaal and other locations.

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